MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As Minnesota begins to slowly reopen and transition out of its Stay At Home order into the Stay Safe order it can be difficult to decipher what’s allowed and what’s not.

So let’s break it down.

As of May 18, the state’s Stay At Home order expired and was replaced by the Stay Safe Minnesota order, turning the dial to allow the following changes:

  • Non-critical businesses, like retail stores and main street businesses, can reopen if they have a social distancing plan and operate at 50% capacity.
  • Drive-in events are permitted if following MDH guidelines. (Most notably requiring attendees to remain in their vehicle).
  • Groups of 10 or less can now gather, with social distancing protocols in place. (This includes gatherings for indoor and outdoor worship).

Currently there is no plan yet as to when churches will be able to hold services with large gatherings of people. On Wednesday, the leaders of Minnesota’s Catholic and Missouri Synod Lutheran churches said they plan to defy the governor’s order and reopen next week. Gov. Walz is expected to meet with the Archdiocese.

RELATED: Catholic, Lutheran Leaders Say They Will Defy Gov. Tim Walz’s Order, Reopen May 26

On June 1, the state is beginning the first phase of its reopening plan, which opens up the following:

  • Restaurants and bars will be allowed to host outdoor dining starting June 1. No more than 50 patrons may be seated at a time, tables must have at least 6 feet between them and parties are limited to 4 (or if everyone’s in the same family, six). Reservations are required.
  • Personal services (salons, tattoos, barbershops, etc.) are allowed to reopen at 25% capacity starting June 1. Clients must have reservations and be spaced 6 feet apart. Both workers and customers are required to wear masks.

In total, the state has outlined four separate phases for slowly reopening Minnesota. However, specific dates have not been released. Each phase allows for larger gatherings of people and more liberties.

Still, WCCO wanted to know more about what was specifically permitted during this time, so we contacted the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) office to get answers to the following questions:

1.) Is outdoor counter top seating allowed at bars?
Yes, with a limit of two customers seated together at the counter for service. (Other table service is limited to 4, or 6 if all part of one family unit.)
2.) Are reservations required for bars as well?
Yes, reservations are required for all restaurants and bars.

3.) What is the guidance for restaurants looking to add outdoor seating in their parking lot?
This would be something they would need to work directly with their city on.


4.) Do restaurants/bars need to provide outdoor restrooms?
No, customers can go indoors to use the restroom as long as social distancing protocols are still followed.


5.) Are all salon services (ie: facials, waxing, nail) permitted?
Yes, following the same requirements and guidelines here.


6.) What is the guidance for massage therapists?
They would also need to follow the same Personal Care Services requirements and guidelines. Of note, services should only be performed if they can be done while both worker and client are wearing face masks or shields.


7.) Can exercise classes be held outside?
Gyms and fitness centers are not yet able to reopen. Per Governor Walz’s Stay Safe MN Executive Order, “Small one-on-one or one-on-two person guided and instructional activities such as guided fishing, birding, or outdoor fitness training” are permitted.


8.) The state has recommended virtual graduations but also lists car parades and parking lot ceremonies. Among those events speakers are permitted, does this extend to graduates or do graduates need to remain in their car?
MDH’s guidance is to “limit the number of speakers to the smallest number possible and ensure they avoid close contact with others. Speakers should not congregate, and should return to their vehicles following presentations.”

9.) What is the guidance for drive-in movies or other drive-in events? Can customers exit their vehicle?
Customers should stay in their vehicles, though could exit to use a restroom as long as social distancing protocols are still followed.


For more information and guidance on reopening Minnesota businesses click here.


So what cannot open yet? Most notably, this includes:

  • Gyms and fitness studios
  • Indoor dining
  • Organized youth sports
  • Worship gatherings greater than ten people
  • Pools
  • Other places of public amusement such as museums, zoos, concerts,  race tracks, bowling, movie theaters, etc.

To read the governor’s full Stay Safe Minnesota executive order click here.